The Manila Times
MOTHER LILY’S BOX OFFICE BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
The country’s who’s who come together as ‘Ina ng Pelikulang Pilipino’ turns 80
TWO former presidents, a(n) (in)fa - -
Showbiz stalwart and Regal matriarch Lily Yu Monteverde became the country’s newest octogenarian on August 19 amid endless expressions of gratitude and admiration be it from former president Joseph “Erap” Ejercito Estrada— who despite going into government has always looked out for the welfare of the entertainment industry, just as the celebrant does to this day—; former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino—who, along with eldest sister Ballsy and nephews Josh and Bimby, represented youngest sister Kris Aquino in thanking the producer for giving their controversial siblings her first
break as a movie actress (“Pido Dida: Sabay Tayo” with the late comedian Rene Requiestas in 1990)—; McDonald’s Philippines’ founder George Yang—a longtime friend who offered the birthday girl two heartfelt songs during the program—; sitting senators Grace Poe, Francis Pangilinan, Sonny Angara and Loren Legarda, among others, for supporting their candidacies; and the likes of Star for All Seasons Vilma Santos, Mega Star Sharon Cuneta and Diamond Star Maricel Soriano— known as an original “Regal Baby”—who each had a story to tell on how the pro-lific movie producer helped them
become who they are today.
But no matter the extraordinary and impressive mix of guests at this fittingly grand party for the woman regarded as “Ina Ng Pelikulang Pilipino”— a title bestowed on Mother Lily in honor of her valuable contribution and commitment to the Philippine movie industry throughout the years—she was by all means the biggest star of the night, entertaining the most famous of performers themselves as she celebrated her 80th year in every way she wanted.
Forever calling herself a dreamer—one who actually wanted to be a movie star rather than producer— Mother kicked off her special night living out the fantasy of an elaborate dance production (think Vilma Santos, Alma Moreno, Maricel Soriano or these days Maja Salvador). Keeping everyone in suspense for her arrival, the doors of the ballroom swung open as the funloving producer emerged in a flowing white gown by
Patty Ang, boogying to the tune of “Mamma Mia” with a horde of backup dancers trailing behind her.
Like a little girl, she savored every step and every move of what turned out to be a medley of high energy dance tunes, made more special by the rest of her family joining her on the dance floor— most of her children and grandchildren, that is, save for producer-son Dondon Monteverde and her beloved husband “Father” Remy Monteverde who cheered them on from their table.
In between heartfelt messages from the likes of “Ate Vi,” the Megastar, comedian Vice Ganda, and song numbers from Rachel Gerodias, Myrtle Sarossa and Total Performer Gary Valenciano, among others, Mother Lily also showed off her much admired classical piano skills, delighting guests all the more with her musicality.
Indeed, watching Mother Lily bursting with energy as she welcomed her 80th year was truly touching, inspiring and simply adorable. Every guest felt and shared her happiness as the TZone saw delight in the faces of ABS-CBN former President and COO Charo Santos-Concio, showbiz stalwart Marichu “Manay Ichu” Maceda, Queen of Philippine Movies Susan Roces, GMA Network’s Lilybeth Rasonable, talent managers Lolit Solis, Dolor Gue-varra and June Rufino, broadcaster
Korina Sanchez- Roxas, Lorna Tolentino, Celeste Legaspi, husband and wife Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera, Eddie Gutierrez and Annabel Rama, Ruffa Gutierrez, Gabby Concepcion, Janice de Belen, Lovi Poe, Vhong Navarro, Winwyn Marquez and Mark Herras, Kylie Padilla and Aljur Abrenica, Barbie Forteza, Ken Chan, Mariel de Leon, Brandon Vera, Jenine Desideriom, fellow producer Tony Tuviera, and directors Jose Javier Reyes, Jason Paul Laxamana, Ricky Davao and Eric Quizon, among many others.
From business and politics, spotted were SM Group’s Hans Sy and Robinsons’ Robina Gokongwei, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, former House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, Chief Legal Counsel of President Rodrigo Duterte Salvador Panelo and Rep. Imee Marcos, again, among many others.
Mother’s well respected daughter Roselle Monteverde—who has been working closely with the celebrant in taking Regal Entertainment Inc. into the digital age for some time now—was “punong
abala” as they say in Filipino, in pulling off such a coup for their beloved “Mommy’s” milestone.
Asked how she feels a few days after “making Mother’s dreams come true,” as the T-Zone put it, Roselle simply replied, “She deserves it.”